If you’re anything like me and don’t have extra time to make a gorgeous 4 layer cake that looks like it was decorated by a professional then these no-fuss carrot cake bars are for you!
The texture of these carrot cake bars are a little more dense (BUT NOT DRY!!) compared to a cake, & the carrots offer up a sweet and moist consistency.
What ingredients do I need for carrot cake bars?
- An egg
- Brown sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Coconut oil or vegetable oil
- Spices: cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, allspice, ground ginger
- All-Purpose Flour
- Baking powder and baking soda
- Ingredients for frosting: cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla extract
Tips for making the best carrot cake bars:
Avoid these few pitfalls in order to make THEE best nut-free carrot cake bars:
Spicing up the carrot cake bars with several different spices is key.
Making it perfectly spiced is the GOAL. But, more isn’t always merrier! Try not to add in more spice than called for because you don’t want to steal the show from the natural sweet flavor of the carrots.
Use a microplane (a zester) to grate your carrots instead of the large holes on a cheese grater! The microplane creates an ultra fine carrot shred so they are evenly distributed throughout the bars instead of having big chunky grated carrots. (ew.)
Have fun with the add ons! But be careful, don’t add TOO many.
Choose between raisins or walnuts, or neither! Add in raisins (soak them in rum for ultra wow factor) or if you don’t live with anyone with allergies – add nuts! Toast up walnuts or pecans on the stove in a small skillet and add them into the batter of the bars.
Don’t add the cream cheese frosting until the bars are 100% cooled! (Typically takes 30-40 minutes for them to cool).
The cream cheese frosting is sweet, tangy and oh-so perfect so the last thing you want it to do is turn into a frosting disaster on your kitchen counter and not on your carrot cake bars!
How to make carrot cake bars
You will preheat the oven to 350° F. and prep your 8×8 in baking dish by spraying with a non-stick spray.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Let slightly cool.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the butter, egg, brown sugar, coconut oil, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and whisk until combined. Add the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir until just combined; don’t over mix.
Add carrots and stir to combine. (You would add the nuts or raisins in here too if using.) Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
Bake for about 26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Allow bars to cool in pan for about 30 minutes before frosting.
How to make the cream cheese frosting
In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese until light and fluffy.
Gradually add in powdered sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time, until combined.
Add in the vanilla extract and milk and beat again until combined.
Easy, right? I hope you love this one!
Nut-Free Carrot Cake Bars
For the bars
- 8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup light brown sugar packed
- 2 tsp. coconut oil, melted (sub. vegetable oil)
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups All-Purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ginger, ground
- 1/2 tsp. cloves, ground
- 1/2 tsp. allspice
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, ground
- 1 cup finely grated carrots (~1-2 large carrots)
- 3/4 cup raisins or walnuts (optional mix-ins)
For the glaze
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 8 oz. softened cream cheese
- 1 Tbsp. milk
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8X8-inch baking pan with non-stick baking spray; set aside.
- In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in 30 second increments until full melted. Let cool slightly for ~5 minutes.
- In a medium mixing bowl whisk the melted butter, egg, brown sugar, oil and vanilla extract together. Whisk until combined.
- In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and all the spices together.
- Add the dry ingredients into the wet. Stir until just combined; don't over mix.
- Add carrots and any other mix-ins (raisins or walnuts). Stir to combine. (Batter will be thick).
- Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
- Bake for ~26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Don't over bake – they will be dry. Allow bars to cool in pan for about 30 minutes before cutting and glazing.
- In a large mixing bowl, use a hand held mixer to beat the softened cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually add in powdered sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time, until combined. Add in the vanilla extract and milk and beat again until smooth. This makes a lot of frosting which we love, but feel free to cut the recipe in half if you only want a little!
- Add in nuts or raisins if desired. (~ 3/4 cup)
Hi, I’m Tawnie!
Welcome to my tiny “korner” on the Internet! I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who loves cookies as much as kale. (OK, maybe I like cookies a little bit more but shh, don’t tell anyone). I am so glad you’re here! Follow along for hassle free, realistic and approachable recipes.More about Tawnie